Why a hike in Ontario’s minimum wage will satisfy no one

Behind Ontario’s wage hike: A battle between hard-line ideology and evidence-based policy

Earlier this week, the Ontario government announced released its Minimum Wage Advisory Panel’s report and recommendation. One of the big takeaways of the report was that the minimum wage should be tied to Ontario’s rate of inflation. This morning, the province took this advice by raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour, effective June 1, 2014.

The government arrived at the $11 figure by adjusting the current minimum wage for the accumulated level of inflation between 2010 (when the minimum wage was last increased) and now. This calculation provides a minimum wage in the range of $10.90; the government then rounded up to $11.  This is far from an ideal process, as it presupposes that the minimum wage was at the optimal level in 2010.  Given how little we know about the minimum wage, it would be surprising if the government got it right four years ago.

Unusually, the government’s decision is one of those rare cases in which a less than ideal process provided a great answer.

Based on what we know about the minimum wage, I have estimated that Ontario can raise it to $11.25 before there are significant labour market effects. The two figures are close enough that I support the government’s increase to $11, despite my misgivings at the process which provided their answer.

This announcement is likely to please almost no one. The Ontario government was in a tough spot, with some business groups claiming, without a great deal of evidence, that even a small increase in the minimum wage is likely to cause widespread unemployment.

On the other hand, advocates of a $14/hr minimum wage refuse to acknowledge that there can ever be a trade-off between the minimum wage and employment or hours worked and the minimum wage can be raised indefinitely without consequence. Both positions are almost certainly incorrect. But as with too many areas, supporters of evidence-based policy are drowned out by groups espousing hard-line ideological positions.




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Why a hike in Ontario’s minimum wage will satisfy no one

  1. I generally agree with your take on this. But refuting the proposal of a $14 minimum wage on the basis that it cannot be raised infinitely without consequence strikes me as disingenuous. $14 is not outlandish, yet by associating that level with a desire to make it something stupid like $40 (Coyne used the same trick) you then proceed to suggest it’s just as nonsensical as the ludicrous claims of the CFIB. I’d respectfully suggest you’re creating a false sense that both sides are equally unrealistic.

    • To be fair, if you follow the link (on “I have estimated”) he does discuss this very issue.

      • Yes. And I want to repeat that I generally nod along in agreement with Moffatt. But even in that piece, he questions the $14 rate by rhetorically asking “why stop there?”, which I still think is characterizing those advocates to be equally nonsensical as the economic armageddon fear mongers. And it’s just not a fair opposition to make.

        • But the $14 rate is clearly outside the 45% range beyond which (it is claimed) there will be job losses so I’d say that he provides more than “why stop there” as an argument against a $14 minimum wage.

          • Sure he does, but the overall framing is to suggest a polarization of positions that simply doesn’t exist. One can argue that $14 is too high. But to say that those suggesting $14 have no sense that there’s a ceiling is disingenuous.

    • Beat me to it.

    • If $14 is good, then why isn’t $20 or $25 better?
      We are trying to make the minimum wage be something that it was never intended to be. It was never intended to be a living wage of a head of household, but rather a starting wage for new workers, part-time workers and related to jobs that were unskilled or low skilled. And that is still what it is and the majority of those earning a minimum wage are those individuals – teenagers, part time moms/retired people, new workers etc. And they are workers that stick around for a short period of time (teenagers move into other jobs or go to school) – really it is only the moms and retired people that see the job as long term and they only see it as part-time work that brings in extra money.

      That there is a relatively small group of people who feel that they are stuck in minimum wage jobs speaks to other issues that shouldn’t be solved on the backs of employers. It speaks to issues of people who are unwilling to move to get better jobs (some for legitimate reasons but many who are frankly lazy and don’t want to try anything else) , who don’t have the training to get better jobs (and that includes the university graduates in gender studies programs that are working at Starbucks – they are educated, but not for any real jobs) and individuals that need training but dont’ bother getting it (and again for many reasons including an unwillingness to do any hard work to get the training required for a better job).

      And let’s know forget the role of unions in pushing for a much higher minimum wage – unions have hit a brick wall in organizing new workplaces and the minimum wage workplaces look ripe for the picking. But NOT if the wage of workers is the minimum wage because the workers are not going to buy the line of paying union dues on an already low salary – particularly if they don’t see themselves working there for a long time. The solution in the minds of unions is to push for a $15/hour minimum wage and then point to that as the benefit of being in a union (and in which the union can then take back some of that wage in union dues). And I have heard that directly from the mouth of a union organizer!

      • It may not be the intent, but the reality is that, increasingly, it IS heads of households working for minimum wage. Because the other jobs are disappearing. And I’m willing to bet most of Hudak’s million jobs would also be of the minimum wage variety.

        • That may be, although I haven’t seen any numbers to support that. BUT if it is the case, then deal with THAT issue. And it becomes an issue for the government of the day to support job creation – and in Ontario it doesn’t appear that ANY party has a plan for that (and subsidizing job creation is a fool’s game – you need to create the environment for businesses to choose Ontario through corporate taxes, good schools, good services etc. not by luring them to a location with promises of subsidies). It is an issue that ALL taxpayers should be concerned about, and not just placed on the shoulders of business (and it is usually small businesses that are the users of minimum wage). But frankly Ontario has second rate k-12 programs and fast falling to second rate health care – deal with excess government programs and red tape and you might stand of chance of creating jobs that are not inherently minimum wage jobs. The easy solution is to keep raising minimum wage but at some point that loses any impact!
          Here in Saskatchewan (and Alberta) the defecto minimum wage is around $11.50 in that no one will take a job at the legal minimum wage (or they will but they will not stay for very long).

        • So what if Hudak created a million minimum wage jobs? It’s still a million more jobs than Wynne has a plan to create. Maybe instead of slagging Hudak’s job creation plan, it’s time you ask Wynne why she doesn’t have one at all.

  2. Every time the minimum wage is raised we go through the same routine. But time passes, Armageddon doesn’t happen, and we move on.

    Until the next hike.

    • And there continues to be pressure to increase the minimum wage because the benefit of each increase is ephemeral. The increase provokes a cycle of inflation in other wages and the cost of products & services. Within a year or two, the benefit of the increase is gone and there’s pressure for another increase. As they say, insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome.

      • What’s it worth to flip a burger, wait a table, stock a shelf…..? What does it take in terms of education, experience, ability……..?

        For the most part they’re student part-time jobs….except adults are working at them. Often married adults with kids. And they need more money to live on.

        In order to get a decent job the employees need more education and training…..are we going to go there? Or are we just going to toss them a bone now and then?

        I’m sure you know the answer.

        • “What’s it worth to flip a burger, wait a table, stock a shelf…..? What does it take in terms of education, experience, ability……..?”
          Any BA will suffice.

          • LOL

      • You seem to be dismissing the fact that we seem to have constant inflation at some rate or another. Unless the minimum wage is somehow tied to inflation it will always leave people behind at a fixed rate necessitating a new raise in the minimum to bring it back to parity every few years.

        • Increasing minimum wage merely accelerates inflation. The problem you want to address is helping people who are trying to earn a living at minimum wage. Constantly raising minimum wage doesn’t do that, and ignores the problem that minimum wage earners simply don’t generate that much value with their labour. The economic logic always seems cruel, but that’s the way it works. Instead of pretending that we can force minimum wage labour to be worth more to employers than it really is, we need to be considering alternative solutions to improve the lot of the people who are trying to live on that wage. Guaranteed minimum income is one way; wage top-ups or earned income tax credits are another.

          • Yes. Most people who earn minimum wage have zero benefits…no healthcare (prescription, dental, eye glass). They can’t afford transportation or child care on their wages and yet they are not offered much of a subsidy. They really fall through the cracks.

          • What logic do you use to come to the conclusion that increasing minimum wage will drive up inflation, but some other means of providing money to low income earners won’t?

            If they get additional money from some source that is not the minimum wage.. do they not spend that money?

            If management is forced to give more money to their minimum-wage workers, they have three options for gaining that money back:
            1. Give less to shareholders
            2. Raise prices
            3. Lower the wages of some other group.

            Now, the odds are they’re not going to give less to the shareholders, because that’s probably them. They’re probably not going to raise prices very much either, because that opens them to the possibility of losing market share to their competitors who did either 1 or 3.

            Thus, they’re most likely to go with #3.

            This is why smaller businesses are the ones that feel the effects of minimum wage changes the soonest.. they generally don’t have a lot of other groups to pass the costs to.

          • Minimum wage is a regulatory lower threshold to the wage scale. Wages are based on relative value of work. Raise the bottom of the scale, and everything above is going to shift upwards. This is especially true given human nature: “If Joe gets an increase of $2 per hour, I want an increase of $2 per hour.” This implies that an increase in minimum wage not only increases the cost of the small number of people working at that wage, but it’ll translate to a cost increase for everybody above the scale. That’s inflation.

            Your theory about how businesses will absorb the cost of a minimum wage increase is incorrect on a number of points.

            First, “give less to shareholders.” No – not going to happen. For most small business owners, that amounts to taking a pay cut themselves. For larger businesses, it’s the same problem although it manifests itself through a large number of shareholders who similarly expect a certain return for their investment in the company.

            Second, “lower the wages of some other group.” Again, not going to happen. Wages are sticky – they go up, but they rarely go down. Frank the cook isn’t going to take a $2/hr pay cut because Joe the bus boy got an increase in minimum wage. Holding the line and letting other wage group earnings erode through inflation also isn’t going to work – those people get paid more because they have more valuable skills. Fail to pay competitive wages, and you’ll lose them to somebody else. (This is a key point to understand – people working at minimum wage tend to lack valuable skills. They don’t get paid much because their work doesn’t deliver much economic value.)

            The real effect is going to be an increase in prices, which again drives inflation.

          • Except your example is total bunk. Someone who’s making 40k/year isn’t going to give a crap that someone below him is making an extra buck an hour.

            That is, not unless you’re a complete and utter loser, in which case you’re probably making minimum wage already.

            As to your other points, your second one is also bunk, because it completely ignores that companies do not want to raise prices..a company can live without a worker for longer than it can live without customers, and, despite your liberarian fantasy dream-world, employment is “sticky” as well. There are a lot of risks involved with choosing to leave a job, so it generally isn’t done very lightly. People will accept wage stagnation for *years* before they actually get up the gumption to leave, and companies know this.

            I mean, okay, if we had a massively booming economy right now and labour was really tight, you’d have a point, but typically in those situation minimum wage isn’t an issue at all, labour pressure is enough. Let me know when you’ve joined us in 2014 and had a look around at the current conditions.

            You see, what you seem to be assuming is that the consumers are mindless sheep who don’t compare prices, and that company management is composed of blithering idiots who think like you do, that consumers will just keep on buying the same product regardless of if the price goes up.

            Newsflash: Buying a particular brand of product is a hell of a lot less “sticky” than working at a particular place.

      • If you don’t raise it, you are increasing pressures on those with the least ability to meet those pressures. Inflation doesn’t stop because minimum wages are flat; a wage freeze in real terms means a wage cut.

        • The proposed solution exacerbates the problem by driving inflation. Adjusting minimum wage doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. We should be trying a different approach.

          • Wages don’t drive inflation. Inflation drives wages – not higher, but into a constant game of catch-up.

    • How’s Ontario’s job creation record been since the Liberals last raised the minimum wage? Nobody claims it will be Armageddon, just that jobs will trickle out of the province. And that’s what we’ve been seeing ever since.

      • Minimum wage jobs are almost all in the service/retail sector. I don’t reckon we’ll be driving to Manitoba for our morning coffee. CFIB has essentially been promising armageddon with their outlandish prediction of job losses. There’s lots of reasons why Ontario’s economy is in the pooper, and many of them the fault of the Libs. But min wage has zero causality.

        • If the minimum wage has “zero causality” then why not hike it up to $20, or $40?

      • You know better than that.

        • Its a good point – if $15 is good and has no effect on the economy (because we will not drive to the next town to get our coffee blah, blah blah) then why isn’t $20 better for low income workers. ANSWER THAT!!!

          • Then we’d have to raise everyone else’s wage by the same amount…..and we’d be right back where we started.

          • Why would everybody elses wages have to be raised? You think every employee in Ontario is getting a $0.75 raise because of this bill?

          • Maureen asked about $20….not just pennies

            If someone makes $10.00 an hour, and then it’s doubled to $20.00 an hour……do you think a person normally making $20.00 an hour isn’t going to complain?

            In fact everyone will demand a raise… all up the line.

  3. Presumably people who are paid minimum wage will be satisfied by wage increase, so I don’t know what Moffatt is talking about when he says no one. And I would be satisfied with increase if I believed Moffatt, which I don’t, and there are going to be significant problems at $11.25 but not $11.00.

    I think government should stop taxing people with annual incomes less than $18,000, implement guaranteed income program and/or negative income tax, abolish minimum wage and encourage employers to start hiring.

    • And the money and jobs for all this will come from…..where?

      • The same place all jobs come from: the private sector. How’s Wynne’s job creation record so far? Terrible? Abysmal? Pick any negative adjective. She’s not creating jobs, she’s too busy taxing and spending.

        • Noop sorry….no campaign speeches thanks

          • Sorry, me answering your question is a “campaign speech”? Or is it just because you wanted the answer to be something else?

          • You aren’t answering questions…..you’re campaigning….and claiming you have all the answers.

      • My reforms would pay for themselves – The State would be reduced greatly, far fewer bureaucrats and their meddling, reduction of labour law, get rid of unions. And many businesses would locate themselves in Canada to be near American market if we didn’t have minimum wage and all sorts of other labour laws that limit mobility.

        • How?

          If the govt reduces taxes, yet raises spending….

          Nothing ‘pays for itself’

    • My parents made minimum wage all their working lives. They were happy with every 10 cent increase.

      But increases in minimum wage are borne by businesses alone. I think that it’s not a bad idea for the Libs to increase the tax free portion which would then be the government’s contribution to increase take-home pay.

      • I think it is joke how little money someone can earn before taxman wants his portion. Somewhere near 40% of Americans don’t pay income tax and here in Canada the government is after you starting at $11,000.

        • Hey, somebodies gotta pay the wages of all the teachers, bureaucrats and other unionized government employees. Who better to do so than the working poor? It sure ain’t going to be the upper-middle class government employees paying for it, that’s for sure!

      • “Borne by business alone,” who then pass it along to all of us through higher prices.

        • Actually, they tend not to. They pass it along through lower wages to the rest of their staff, as that’s the safer option to take when dealing in a competitive industry.

          • Huh? You think in a competitive industry, where talent comes at a premium, the best way to retain your most important employees is to cut their pay? That’s a ridiculous assumption.

            What do you think they’d do in a business, like a coffee shop, where the entire staff makes minimum wage? They’ll just increase the cost of a coffee to offset the increased wages they’re forced to pay.

          • Wow.. if only I had thought about how this works for small businesses like coffee shops. Oh wait.. perhaps you should try reading my post above where I specifically point out that smaller businesses have the most trouble with minimum wage increases because of this very point.

            And you’re right, they probably don’t hand out a round of wage cuts, but what happens is that bonuses to top execs get reduced slightly because the company is less profitable. Also, increases in wages at the middle tier may stagnate somewhat unless the particular employee is highly in demand.

          • Perhaps you should try shutting the hell up.

      • This is the crux of the problem: people think that hiking minimum wage is a way of offloading a social problem onto somebody else. The cost of increased minimum wage is going to be passed along to everybody else through higher prices for goods and services. I don’t know where people get the idea that businesses operate with big margins that they can simply dip into to pay for higher wages and taxes. It certainly isn’t the case for any business in a competitive marketplace.

    • Now how are you going to encourage employers to start hiring? Ask them to play nice? Or maybe we could pay them, from workers’ tax dollars, for every worker. Or no wait! That would be government intervention in the free market.

      The only reason a sensible business owner is going to hire workers is if the current crop of workers is insufficient to meet demand. The only reason a sensible business owner could be encouraged to employ more workers than the business needs is if someone pays that business more than that business pays its employees. Profit through hiring.

      Or maybe… What?

      • Yes, for a business to hire, the business needs to grow. This policy by Wynne will stifle growth. It now costs a business more money to deliver the same goods or services as previously. That is the opposite of helping businesses grow, and will slow down any job creation that’s happening, businesses will be forced to cut hours, and there may even be layoffs.

        • And yet for a business to grow, it needs more customers. It’s all cyclic. But making sure that people have enough money to meet their basic needs makes for a more efficient economy overall.

        • Rick it’s not just about costs! You need income.

          Here’s your choice:
          You open your business in a community of people with money to spend or you open your business in a community of people so poor they’ll work for whatever you feel like that day.

  4. Well said, totally agree!

  5. As to what the minimum wage should actually be, I won’t pretend to know. But once it is set, tying it to inflation is such an obvious move (and one I have advocated every time this issue has come up since I was old enough to have a clue what it was about) that I can’t believe it hasn’t been done long ago.

    • Tying it to inflation causes labour market rigidity where real wages cannot fall, even though they probably should when unemployment is high.

      • Minimum wage is hardly a wage that should be falling; it’s really only a subsistence wage for entry-level or part-time employment. If we need to adjust that downward, we are in sad shape indeed.

        You won’t boost employment by lowering wages; you’ll increase the welfare rolls.

        • We should really be thinking about providing more subsidized and free services for all our poor, especially the working poor. If working poor were eligible for the same services as those on welfare with regard to prescriptions, dental & eye care and a subsidy on transportation and child care, there would be no issue with increasing welfare rolls.

        • Ontario’s got the highest unemployment of any province in Canada outside of the Maritimes, and that unemployment rate is climbing. Ontario has the highest deficit per capita of any province in Canada, and will soon have the highest amount of debt per capita in Canada. The 3rd largest expenditure the Gov’t of Ontario has every year behind education and healthcare is debt service payments.

          How much worse off does the province need to get before you think the government should start addressing some of these problems?

          • Can’t see how these issues are relevant to minimum wage – except as to how it applies to how a stagnant or decreased minimum wage will likely lead to more people choosing welfare over minimum wage jobs because they’ll be better off. Then they are on the government rolls, and our debt increases.

            A rise in minimum wage might keep a small business from hiring extra staff. If this small bump puts a company out of business, odds are they would have gone under anyway. If you can’t stay afloat offering your staff minimum wage, then your business plan isn’t very good.

            EDIT: … or maybe you meant to reply to guest, rather than me? Then your reply would make more sense…

          • Anybody who would choose to go on welfare instead of work a minimum wage job is not likely to change their mind because the minimum wage went up by $0.75. A minimum wage already paid more than welfare. That person has come to the conclusion that it’s easier for them to be a leach on society rather than work a living.

            A rise in minimum wage might keep a small business from hiring extra staff. It might also just cause them to reduce the number of hours that staff work. They might also just raise their prices, which will result in increased inflation. They might also just demand more work out of the same employees.

            There are many businesses that operate on razor thin margins. This doesn’t mean that their business plan isn’t good. Any business plan that produces a profit is a good business plan. Because the government decides to come in and increase that businesses costs of doing business, thus forcing them out of business, does not mean the business plan was a failure. It means the government policy was a failure. If the government implemented a 100% income tax rate and businesses couldn’t find employees willing to work for nothing, would that be a failed business plan?

            The fact of the matter is that anybody who’s relying on a hike in the minimum wage to improve their lot in life is going to live a life of constant disappointment.

          • A business that fails to factor in rising salaries as a cost of business has failed at its planning. Cost go up, be it wages or materials. And then, yes, they may have to pass that cost along. Inflation happens. Telling the working poor “tough shit – suck it up” is not the answer. Though you seem to think it’s not just perfectly acceptable, but the preferred solution.

            As for the minimum wage / welfare issue: there are many who work because they take pride in not being on welfare, even though they would be better off. At some point, though, you have to look at what is best for your family – if you can’t make a go of it on the wages you’re earning, you give in, swallow your pride and take the welfare.

            For some people, that’s the reality. And having a wage that doesn’t at least keep up with inflation means your income, in terms of spending power, is decreasing year over year. It isn’t about “relying on a hike in the minimum wage to improve their lot in life” – it’s about survival.

            So yes, for some people, no increase may well lead to them choosing welfare, even though they would prefer it otherwise, in order for their families to have food and shelter.

          • Nobody gets more from welfare than they would from working full time at a minimum wage job. Nobody.

            Businesses don’t factor in rising salaries as a cost of business. They factor in inflation as a whole, not just on salaries. There are very few businesses (note: not government jobs) where you get a pay increase in real dollar terms every year just for continuing to show up and do the exact same work. If you’re not adding value to your job from one year to the next, there’s no reason why an employer would give someone a raise.

            The only people outside of government who get raises every year for doing the same work are unionized employees, typically in the manufacturing industryl. And how’s that been working out? They take more and more of the pie from the company until the company realizes they can move the entire factory somewhere else and save money. Then those jobs are gone. It’s happening all over Ontario.

          • They get housing assistance. They get extra dollars per kid. Pretty sure there are other benefits, but having never been on welfare nor having any friends/family on it, I’m not overly acquainted with the full package. But if you have children, yes – you CAN be better off on welfare.

          • “There are very few businesses (note: not government jobs) where you get a pay increase in real dollar terms every year just for continuing to show up and do the exact same work. If you’re not adding value to your job from one year to the next, there’s no reason why an employer would give someone a raise.”

            It’s called cost of living – just about every business worth working for gives at least an increase roughly equal to inflation. You’re right; it’s not an increase in real dollar terms; it keeps their employees from falling down a black hole of real-world salary shrinkage. And they plan for it.

            A “pay increase in real dollar terms” is an increase over and above inflation – usually reserved for top performers. And that’s NOT what this increase in minimum wage is; it’s a four-years-overdue inflation adjustment.

      • It only prevents the minimum wage from falling. Which is precisely what it is supposed to do. It is a floor on wages. We shouldn’t fret too much when the minimum wage law works as intended. “Clearing” the labour market should not be used as an excuse to squeeze even more out of our lowest paid workers. Higher wages can fall if needed. Yes, the minimum wage affects those earning a higher wage as well, but that effect fades as you go up the income ladder. I earn around $90,000 – I doubt my salary is affected or held rigid by the minimum wage.

        In France or in Ireland, where the minimum wage was set at a very high level, your argument has merit. However, our minimum wage isn’t anywhere close to what Ireland’s was, or what France’s still is. Any minimum wage will distort labour markets and prevent the market from “clearing”. Ours has never been so high as to create a large, permanent class of unemployable citizens. Which tells me we’ve got it about right. And if we can make that assumption (which we do every time we legislate a particular level), then indexing it to keep the wage relevant and consistent from year to year is a no-brainer.

    • Everyone keeps beating me to the points I wish to make! I hate this discussion!

    • Bingo. The fact is, we have a minimum wage law. That law is meaningless if we do not index it to inflation. If it is truly a minimum wage law, then that minimum must not be allowed to inflate away. I don’t know the optimal level either. But I commend Wynne, for the first and only time in my life I’m sure, for making a decision, and making a reasonable one.

  6. How’s Ontario’s job creation record looked since the last minimum wage increase?

    Does it really strike anybody as bright to be raising the minimum wage at a time when businesses are fleeing Ontario in droves?

    • Do me a favour. Go grab your dictionary and look up the following two words: 1. correlation 2. causality. Get back to me when you understand the meaning of each, and how they are vastly different. Trust me, you’ll see the world in a whole new way.

      • You can’t have a serious conversation with Rick because he’s always campaigning….no matter what nonsense he has to claim in a post.

        • Care to answer the questions I asked?

          • People have been getting jobs all along I’m afraid…..as you well know….seeing as you had to come here to get one yourself

            We have thousands of jobs we can’t fill though

            Raising the minimum wage happens on a regular basis, and isn’t for the purpose of creating jobs.

            Now stop shilling…..it’s boring.

      • I am quite familiar with the words, but thank you for being a condescending a$$hole.

        Now, can you admit that Ontario’s job creation record in the last several years has been garbage? And can you then acknowledge that raising the minimum wage will do nothing to reverse that trend?

        Or are you just going to continue to childishly insult anybody who dares challenge the Great Kathleen Wynne’s economic genius?

        • Um, you’re the one who suggested that prior raises to min wage were causal in a poor job record. I don’t want to explode your teeny head or anything, but it’s possible that I can agree with you that the Liberals have been poor economic managers while refuting the notion that minimum wage tweaks had anything to do with the current state of affairs. That’s the whole causality and correlation thing I beg you to acquaint yourself with.

          Also: are you suggesting that Wynne should have been able to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in about a year? That’s kind of silly – particularly since you hold the view that governments can do essentially nothing about anything.

          • I wasn’t suggesting that prior min. wage increases caused the Liberals’ pathetic job creation record. My point was that it has done nothing to improve the provinces finances.

            I’m more than aware that the Liberals, and their apologists like yourself don’t give a damn about the provinces economy, as long as they’re making moves that help them in the polls. The gas plants fiasco cost Ontario $1B, but it helped the Liberals win the last election, so it’s all fine and dandy. Same with this min. wage increase. It won’t help solve any of the problems facing Ontario, but it’ll buy the Liberals a few votes with other peoples money, so you defend it, even though you know it’s a solution in search of a problem.

          • The poorest among us aren’t deserving a cost of living increase, is that it Rick? They should just suffer it out with their meagre incomes covering fewer and fewer items; increase their trips to the food banks; start looking for a decent sized cardboard box or unoccupied culvert for when their landlord turfs them?

            You’re all heart!

          • Right. Anybody who says anything negative about a minimum wage hike must be a heartless monster.

          • Why generalize? He was just talking about you.

          • Huh? So you think he’d be fine with other people criticizing the min. wage hike, just not me? Why do you people have such a strange and bizarre obsession with me?

        • The job losses haven’t been the minimum-wage ones, Rick. Those are the jobs people end up with after the factories, etc close up shop.

        • Minimum wage policy isn’t about “creating jobs”. Nobody will argue that making labour more expensive will reduce unemployment. Minimum wage laws are there for entirely separate reasons, that have nothing to do with lowering unemployment. Ditto for mandatory vacations, stat holidays, etc. We could get rid of all those things, including minimum wage laws, and clear the labour market tomorrow. And what a wonderful world that would be.

    • Minimum wage has not increased in four years. Our pathetic employment growth record certainly hasn’t been caused by minimum wage increases. You just defeated your own argument.

      • Labour is subject tot he same laws of supply and demand as anything else. You raise the cost of labour, you’ll have less demand (ie. jobs).

        I’m not saying that Ontario’s pathetic jobs record is caused by minimum wage hikes. I’m saying it’s doing nothing to help, if not hurting job creation.

        The Gov’t of Ontario even released it’s own report saying so here.

        The problem facing Ontario’s economy is that there are not enough jobs. Ontario has the highest unemployment rate of any province in Canada outside of the Maritimes. This will do nothing but exacerbate that problem.

        But as usual, Liberal economic policy isn’t about doing what’s good for the economy, it’s all about buying some votes.

  7. Does it really matter you want to raise gas 10 cents Hydro is being paid by me by the week milk goes up food goes up everything she’s been talking about to go up she must go home and sing that song rise up rise up rise up to the power it will work for about 4 months I’m back to normal we go temp services will steal all the money anyways who is hired by our government it’ll only make minimum wage slavery still where it is with no job except from 8 years from now still no jobs she’s no different than Stephan Harper making deals with foreign Union and not North American Union Canada or USA this is why all of our plants and factory are not staying in Canada thanks for nothing for u tube activists and speaker Phil Ryerson

  8. Minimum wage isn’t about unemployment, and it isn’t about creating the ideal macroeconomic environment for job growth. It’s about enforcing a minimum level of compensation that is deemed “fair”. Yes, “fair”, which is often interpreted as a “liveable” wage. And these are entirely subjective terms. We elect governments to make these subjective determinations.

    We can study the issue to death, or we can decide that the status quo of four years ago wasn’t so terrible, and just go with that, and index it to current price level. It’s not a catastrophe either way. Businesses will adjust. Prices, if necessary, will also adjust. It won’t create inflation, but will create some tiny, one-time price adjustments here and there. It won’t cause a huge increase in unemployment, but will cause a few layoffs where margins were already frightfully thin. We’ll live. And most minimum wage earners will be slightly better off.

    It has been nearly 3 decades since I had the indignity of working for minimum wage. I am not about to insist that minimum wage earners today wait for another 6 months or a year while policy analysts determine the optimal wage level. The fact is, it hasn’t been increased in four years, and it was well past time that it was.

  9. What was it raised from? 10.25?

    What a piddling nothing. I notice the reports only mention the new rate but not the increase.

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